We look ahead to the Sky Bet Championship battle on the South coast this Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion vWigan Athletic
Sky Bet Championship
Saturday 22 February 2014, kick off 3.00pm
American Express Community Stadium
Saturday’s game at the Amex Stadium sees the Seagulls and Latics go head to head with both teams neck and neck in the race for a play off place, both on 46 points with an identical goal difference – Latics ahead on goals scored. The winners on Saturday will be looking to close the gap on Reading who currently occupy the last play off spot with 50 points on the board.
The league position isn’t the only thing the two teams have in common, they are both still in the FA Cup, but while Latics’ date with Manchester City in the quarter-final is already confirmed, Brighton have yet to secure their place – a fifth round replay against Hull City on Monday night could prove a distraction they don’t need in such a crucial league battle.
Brighton have won nine games 1-0 in all competitions this season are unbeaten at the Amex Stadium wince Barnsley beat them 2-1 on 3 December.
Wigan Athletic will be without Ben Watson after the 28 year old suffered a double leg break in an accidental collision against Barnsley on Tuesday night. Gary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney are also still unavailable. The absence of Watson may provide an opportunity for Roger Espinoza or Josh McEachran to come into the team.
Manager Uwe Rosler did tell Latics Player today that Nick Powell and Scott Carson are almost ready to return.
Brighton's Will Buckley faces a late fitness test on a hamstring problem.
Leonardo Ulloa (calf) is available, while midfielder Keith Andrews (hamstring) returns to contention.
Head to Head
Saturday’s contest will be only the twelfth time the two team have met, all previous 11 meetings have been league matches with Brighton winning six to Latics’ four and just the one draw. There’s never been a goalless game and in fact despite having won less games, it’s Latics who have managed the most goals netting 16 times. [Click here] for the full head to head record.
Brighton & Hove Albion (P6, W3, D2, L1)
Mon 17 Feb – FA Cup R5 – Hull City (H) – D1-1
Tue 11 Feb – Championship – Leeds (H) – W1-0
Sat 08 Feb – Championship – Doncaster (H) – W1-0
Sun 02 Feb – Championship – Watford (A) – L2-0
Tue 28 Jan – Championship – Burnley (A) D0-0
Sat 25 Jan – FA Cup R4 – Port Vale (A) W1-3
Wigan Athletic (P6, W4, D1, L1)
Tue 18 Feb – Championship – Barnsley (H) – W2-0
Sat 15 Feb – FA Cup R5 – Cardiff City (A) – W1-2
Tue 11 Feb – Championship – Sheff Weds (A) – W0-3
Sat 08 Feb – Championship – Hudderfield (A) – L0-1
Sat 01 Feb – Championship – Charlton (H) – W2-1
Tue 28 Jan – Championship – Middlesbro’ (A) – D0-0
Last League Line ups
Brighton (v Leeds [H] W1-0): T Kuszczak, M Upson, S Ward, I Calderon yellow card, G Greer, R Ince, A Orlandi, D Stephens, S March (W Buckley, 73), L Ulloa (J Obika, 81), D Rodriguez (K Lua Lua, 57).
Subs not used: P Brezovan, J Caskey, D Lopez, L Dunk.
Wigan Athletic (v Barnlsey [H] W2-0): A Al Habsi, L Barnett, J Perch yellow card, E Boyce, J Beausejour, B Watson (J McEachran, 20 (M Fortune, 75)), C McCann, M Waghorn, J McArthur, J McClean, N Maynard (R Espinoza, 75).
Subs not used: S Crainey, J Gomez, R Kiernan, L Nicholls.
Referee - TBC (replacing Andy Davies)
Assistant Referee 1 - Ryan T Atkin
Assistant Referee 2 - Thomas Ramsey
Fourth Official - Darren Sheldrake
Assessor - Clive Penton
Middlesbrough v Leeds United (12.15pm)
Blackpool v Birmingham (3.00pm)
Bolton v Watford (3.00pm)
Burnley v Nottm Forest (3.00pm)
Charlton v QPR (3.00pm)
Derby County v Bournemouth (3.00pm)
Huddersfield v Sheffield Wed (3.00pm)
Leicester City v Ipswich Town (3.00pm)
Reading v Blackburn (3.00pm)
Yeovil Town v Doncaster (3.00pm)